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1816 - The Year Without a Summer





IAN RITCHIE – Curator & Narrator


Ian Ritchie studied at the Royal College of Music (winning the Mario Grisi Prize), Trinity College, Cambridge, and the Guildhall School.  He has directed several prominent arts organisations, including City of London Sinfonia, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Opera North, St Magnus Festival and City of London Festival.  He is currently Artistic Director of the Setúbal Music Festival, the Setúbal Youth Ensemble (Portugal) and The Musical Brain.  He is in demand as a speaker, performs as a narrator and is occasionally heard as a singer.




James Gilchrist is one of the UK’s leading tenors and has performed in major concert halls throughout the world.   Recognised as ‘the finest Evangelist of his generation’ his extensive repertoire embraces works spanning many centuries.   He is an enthusiastic and prolific exponent of Lieder and enjoys nothing better than putting together interesting and challenging recital programmes. His impressive discography includes the Schubert and Schumann song cycles, Finzi, Vaughan Williams and Britten.



Anna Tilbrook performs regularly in major venues at home and abroad.  She collaborates with leading singers and instrumentalists, including James Gilchrist, Lucy Crowe, Willard White, Mark Padmore, Stephan Loges, Christopher Maltman, Ian Bostridge, Andrew Staples, Christine Rice, Iestyn Davies, Natalie Clein, Nicholas Daniel, Philip Dukes, Adrian Brendel and the Fitzwilliam, Elias, Sacconi and Doelen string quartets. With the distinguished tenor James Gilchrist she has made acclaimed recordings of 20th-century English song and the song-cycles of Schubert, Beethoven and Schumann.




Giles Harrison is Professor of Atmospheric Physics in the Department of Meteorology at the University of Reading. His research work has included making some of the first airborne measurements in UK airspace of the Icelandic volcanic ash from Eyjafjallajökull, during the April 2010 flight ban. He is a member of the Academia Europea, and in 2014 was awarded the degree of Doctor of Science by the University of Cambridge for distinction in original contributions to the advancement of science.


Gillen D’Arcy Wood was born in Australia and is currently Professor of English at the University of Illinois. His research focuses on the British Romantic Age, climate and environmental history, and sustainability. His recent book, Tambora: The Eruption that Changed the World (Princeton University Press), reconstructing on a global scale the destructive climatic consequences of this massive event, has been recognized internationally and in Book of the Year awards by the Guardian and the Times Higher Education Supplement in 2014.


Robert Tombs is a Fellow of St John's College and Professor of French History at the University of Cambridge, where he teaches modern European history.  Much of his work has been on France in the 19th century, but in recent years he has moved beyond the borders of the Hexagon (French Metropolitan mainland), most recently with The English and Their History (2014), trying to make sense of the country's history and its people's ideas about their past.


Michael Trimble is Emeritus Professor of Behavioural Neurology at the Institute of Neurology, Queen Square. His clinical practice and research involved people with problems particularly related to movement disorders and epilepsy. He has been especially interested in our emotional responses to artistic experiences: his book The Soul in the Brain explores the cerebral basis of art and belief and his more recently published volume, Why Humans Like to Cry, discusses emotional responses to tragedy and the arts from an evolutionary and neurobiological perspective.


Swiss-Chinese pianist Louis Schwizgebel has been described as an “insightful musician” by the New York Times and “already one of the great masters of the piano” by Res Musica.  Schwizgebel has performed with many of the world’s great orchestras.  Recent recital highlights include performances at London’s Wigmore Hall, Fribourg International Piano Series, Munich’s Herkulesaal, and with violinist Benjamin Beilman his debut at the Berlin Philharmonie.  In 2013 he was announced as a BBC New Generation Artist.


Di Sherlock has worked in physical theatre, West End, multimedia and TV. As writer-director work includes: Miss Havisham's Expectations, The World’s Wife (Edinburgh Festival, Trafalgar Studios); Services No Longer Required, Salford Tales for BBC Philharmonic; also Who Killed Ramona Rhapsody, broadcast Radio 3, subsequently produced in Holland and Germany.  As reciter, she has performed a number of times with Ian Ritchie.  Her book Come Into The Garden, poems chronicling her parents' journey through cancer and dementia, was published last year.


Judith Bingham was born in Nottingham, began composing as a small child and then studied composition and singing at the Royal Academy of Music in London. She was a member of the BBC Singers for many years and, between 2004 and 2009, she was their Composer in Association.  A recording of Bingham's choral works by Wells Cathedral Choir and Matthew Owens was a Gramophone Editor's Choice in the 2013 Awards issue. She recently wrote an anthem for the re-interment of Richard III.


ALBERTO VENZAGO – Photographer & film maker


Zurich-based photographer and filmmaker Alberto Venzago, initially making his name and winning prizes as a photojournalist, now moves effortlessly between film and photography.  He is the official photographer of the London Symphony Orchestra and has worked for the Boston Symphony Orchestra: music is a recurring theme in his work on films.  His international awards include Gold at the New York Film Festival. “An authentic image is more important than a beautiful image” is how he sums up his philosophy.

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